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Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 11/From Canada to Liverpool, with "skedaddlers" from the Northern army

With “Skedaddlers” from the Northern Army.


The Grand Trunk Railway of Canada—one of the most shaky and rickety in the world—is not, at the outset, the most pleasing of routes whereby to commence a journey homewards; a train, or at least a “bullgine” (engine), running off the track being an event of quite ordinary occurrence. We arrived at Montreal on the morning of the 26th of March, well dusted, and jostled almost to death, but with appetites sharpened by the involuntary exercise which we had been taking day and night; so, in company with a “skedaddler” from a Michigan cavalry regiment, I adjourned to the Miranda “Hotel,” so called. The small bar room was crowded by a host of Lower Canadian habitants, with a sprinkling of some half-dozen chattering Frenchwomen. Hungry and tired, I entered the dining-room, a dirty little apartment about ten feet square, in which my head, albeit that of a short man, nearly touched the ceiling, while my olfactory nerves were sorely discomposed. Huge chumps of bread were distributed round the table, at one end of which was a tureen of black bean-soup, and at the other a large dish of fish, which might have been fresh a week before; so, hungry as I was, I hastily quitted the company. A few doors from the Miranda, I discovered a phlegmatic German, stout and greasy withal, busily employed in the concoction of saveloys, Bologna sausages, &c., from whom I made a few rapid purchases, with which, and a pocket-pistol in the shape of a brandy-bottle, I hurried to catch the train, then almost on the point of starting from Montreal for Island Pond.

On the way we formed some new acquaintances bound for home by the same steamer with ourselves. Among them were an old farmer and his son, on their road from the far backwoods to Dublin, to inherit an income of 700l. a year; and a veteran Irishman “skedaddling” from the New York cavalry. From Montreal to Portland (Maine) the railroad is even worse than that portion of it which traverses Canada West; and on our arrival, at midnight, at that miserable locality called Island Pond, I was black and blue. We were escorted to a dilapidated building—a perfect dog-hole, yclept an hotel; it was worse than any backwoods shanty, Irish shebeen, or under ground habitation into which I have crept in the course of my wandering life. The Yankees, Page:Once a Week Jun to Dec 1864.pdf/356 Page:Once a Week Jun to Dec 1864.pdf/357 Page:Once a Week Jun to Dec 1864.pdf/358 Page:Once a Week Jun to Dec 1864.pdf/359